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Tawakkul Karman - First Arab Woman and Youngest Nobel Peace Laureate

Posted on Dec 24, 2011
Melanie Elturk


When we heard Tawakkul Karman, a Muslim, was the first Arab woman and youngest person awarded the Nobel Peace Laureate we were thrilled. To see her in hijab made us ecstatic!

Tawakkul Karman is the face of the Yemeni uprising that was part of the Arab spring. She has been an active and vocal opponent calling for the end of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime. She has quickly become an icon of the protest movement. As a journalist and founder of the human rights group Women Journalists Without Chains, she is the first Arab woman to win the prize and the youngest peace laureate in history at just 32 years of age.

Watch her acceptance speech courtesy of Democracy Now!

In her acceptance speech, delivered in Arabic, Karman paid tribute to Arab women and their struggles, "To all those women who are still stumbling on the path of freedom in countries with no social justice or equal opportunities, to all of them I say, thank you. This day would not have come true without you."


One of Karman's widely distributed quotes has stirred passion in many. When asked about her hijab by journalists and how it is not proportionate with her level of intellect and education, she replied, 

“Man in early times was almost naked, and as his intellect evolved he started wearing clothes. What I am today and what I’m wearing represents the highest level of thought and civilization that man has achieved, and is not regressive. It’s the removal of clothes again that is regressive back to ancient times."

To learn more, watch this interview about her struggles in Yemen and her surprise at being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

We could not be more filled with pride as we witness her undying passion for justice and her strong conviction in hijab. May God continue to fuel her passion and strengthen her resolve in all she does.